“New Girl” Season Two Finale Juggles Humor, Heart and Badgers

Jess and Nick fall through the ceiling at Cece's wedding.

Jess and Nick fall through the ceiling at Cece’s wedding.

Jamie Ferguson

Jess and Nick fall through the ceiling at Cece's wedding.
Jess and Nick fall through the ceiling at Cece’s wedding.

The season two finale of Fox’s New Girl ended with a bang by tying up loose ends while also leaving a big enough cliffhanger to build up hype for its return in the fall. The show’s solid second season successfully balanced comedy and compassion — a feat not many comedies can accomplish — and built a strong cast of characters that audiences have grown to love.

The episode opens on the day of Cece’s wedding, with the gang (plus Jess’ father) getting ready to leave for the big day. Although he has already expressed his dislike for Nick, Jess’ dad manages to insult both Nick and his suit before they even leave the house. Before the ceremony, Jess tells Nick that she does not think that he is an “unemployable, alcoholic bummer” despite what her father says, but Nick (who is both unemployed and prone to drinking too much) is not so sure that she is telling the truth.

Schmidt and his current girlfriend (also his former college flame) Elizabeth seem truly happy together despite being at Schmidt’s ex-girlfriend’s wedding, and all is well until Schmidt mistakes the bride’s room for the bathroom. After a brief moment of eye contact with Cece, Schmidt tells Nick, Winston, and Jess that she was trying to convey to him that she did not want to get married. The group dismisses the “eye conversation,” but Schmidt insists on sabotaging the wedding so that Cece does not have to go through with marrying Shivrang. Winston, despite admitting that he always messes up pranks earlier in the season, agrees to help him, while Nick refuses, desperate to convince Jess and her father that he is good enough for her.

First, the duo blow an air horn to scare away the white horse that Shivrang is arriving on, starting the wedding on a sour note (When Schmidt first hears of the horse, he retorts that “basically, they’re just copying [his] bar mitzvah”). Once the ceremony begins, Cece’s stunning entrance down the aisle is interrupted by “Cotton Eye Joe” blasting through the room. Nick runs into the DJ booth to stop the music, and when Winston refuses, he tries to pause the song himself. Jess walks in at this moment, and after seeing Nick on the computer, accuses him of helping with the pranks. To be fair, she has a valid excusenot only is he fist pumping along to the song, but she discovers that it is his “Cotton Eye Joe” CD that Schmidt and Winston used to play the song. Even though Nick protests, promising her that he had nothing to do with the pranks, Jess calls him childish and refuses to believe him. Nick then decides to join Schmidt and Winston for the third and final prank, as there is no use in trying to impress Jess anymore.

The final prank is Winston’s idea, which is already an indication on how it is going to go down base on his history with practical jokes. He decides to drop a badger (seen briefly at the hotel earlier in the episode) on the priest, and Winston and Nick climb up into the vents to do so. Back on the ground, Jess interrogates Schmidt to figure out what is going on (threatening to mess up his hair if he does not tell her). She finally learns that Nick was telling the truth, and was not a part of the pranks despite what she had believed. She decides to go up into the vents and meets up with Nick and Winston. Nick and Jess have a brief heart-to-heart about their relationship, and Jess admits that a part of her does agree with her father that Nick is too much of a mess for her. There is a “but,” but she is not able to finish her sentence, as the two come crashing down through the ceiling and right into the ceremony.

Cece is not furious that Jess ruined the wedding—in fact, it gives her an opportunity to admit that she is in love with someone else, and does not want to go through with the wedding. Shivrang admits that he feels the same way, and reveals that he is in love with someone else, too. None other than Taylor Swift stands up from the audience, playing Elaine, the girl Shivrang is really in love with. In a cute but brief guest appearance, Elaine reveals her love for Shivrang, declaring that he is “not too short for her,” and she “doesn’t care what [her] mother says.” They reunite, and Elaine shouts that they are going to elope in Vegas before the pair runs out of the room.

After the chaos of the wedding, Nick and Jess decide to call it off because “it’s not like [they’re] in love or anything.” Jess says it feels good to her; however, her heartbroken expression suggests that she feels otherwise.

Elizabeth is rightfully upset that Schmidt tried to stop Cece’s wedding, despite him assuring her he was only doing it as a friend. Cece arrives, and the two women demand that Schmidt chooses one of them. He decides to choose the door, running out of the room before he has to make a decision. After an entire season of Cece telling Schmidt that she was over him and that he should move on, it is a little unfair of her to admit that she still has feelings for him, especially after he is back in a happy, healthy relationship with Elizabeth. Although Schmidt will almost certainly pick Cece later in season three, Elizabeth brings out the best in him.  It is not fair to anyone if Cece expects him to come running back to her after shutting him down so many times.

Nick heads over to the bar to drink his feelings and tells Winston that he and Jess called it. However, Winston tells him that drinking away his problems is something his father would do, and that there are other ways to deal with problems besides running away. Nick takes his advice and runs off to find Jess. Now alone in the bar, Winston ask the bartender if he can call an ambulance, because he is “about to bleed out” after being attacked by the badger.

Outside of the hotel, Jess admits to Nick that she does not want to call it off like she said she did. “Look, I know you think we should call this. But I don’t want to give up on this, even if we don’t know what this is. I want to uncall it. Please, can we uncall it? And before you say no, don’t say no,” she says. Nick feels the same way, as the two share a passionate kiss before riding off into the starry night together. Moments between Nick and Jess are some of the high points of the entire series, and their reunion is no exception. The chemistry between Zooey Deschanel and Jake M. Johnson is palpable, and their characters’ relationship is very believable and tenderly human.

Although season two of New Girl left almost nothing to complain about, the writing of Winston remains one of the biggest drawbacks of the series. Though one of the funniest characters on the show, he is never more than comic relief. Even Elizabeth, who was only in four episodes this season, had more of an emotional storyline than Winston. Hopefully, season three will give Winston a storyline that he deserves, instead of just being a prop in comical situations.

With the exception of Winston, however, the rest of the characters on the show are developed extremely well, especially Nick and Jess. It took the two almost two full seasons for the two to come to terms with their feelings for each other, a realistic arc from roommates to friends to more-than-friends. If all goes well, season three will even further develop their relationship. Though the direction of New Girl’s third season is unclear (will it kick off immediately following the finale, or will it take place a few months after the wedding?), the strong buildup for the show’s next season provides a solid foundation for season three.